Defining the Pagan
Article ID: 13006
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: December 14th. 2008
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Being relatively new to the Pagan community, I have encountered many questions, most of which I’ve been able to answer on my own using various methods, i.e. books, web, etc. I have no “proper” label, as in I’m not specifically Wiccan or Druid, etc. I usually just tell people when they ask that I’m simply Pagan, not Eclectic or any other specific title, just plain old, generic Pagan.
My belief system stems from a sense of right that I feel in regard to seeing the Deity as feminine as opposed to masculine. The idea that it is older than Christianity and more wide spread across the world is somehow comforting to me. I feel drawn to nature and the rhythms of the Earth because I was raised so far in the country.
Having been raised as a devout Catholic in a southern home, it took me years to see and embrace what I now practice as openly as I can. I use the term practice loosely (I will expound on that in a bit) . Although Pagan ideas were always a part of me, I embraced this idea and path openly 4 years ago. Being sent to Kuwait for the onslaught of what I believe to be the 8th crusade did a lot to force my eyes open and accept that freedom to worship as one chooses is a personal endeavor that should not be hampered by anything other than ones own mind.
My mother was the first person to ever hand me the idea of Fairies, elves and the like, my dad collected unicorn bookmarks, my aunt showed me my first set of runes, and my grandmother……bless her soul, she was a fantastic, superstitious, old school remedy user from way back.
I was raised deep in the country on a dirt road, so I developed a deep-seated appreciation for Mother Nature as a child. All of these things made a great foundation for my current belief system. However, as nice as it all sounds, I was still brought up in a fairly strict Catholic family. I discovered that I loved the ritual of mass, and for years after I moved out of my parent’s home, I continued to go on my own. As I grew and as my faith grew, I began to slowly move away from the Christian faith and into my own.
Moving into that faith is not as easy as it sounds… (Here comes the “practice” part) I live in South Louisiana. Probably the most Catholic region I’ve ever seen in the US, and of course it is in the Bible belt, so those who are not Catholic are some form of Christian. Of course there is a scattering of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and various others but finding the Pagan community down here is not a simple task.
I don’t know anyone personally in the covens that do exist in my town so I am reluctant to ask to join them even for a Samhain celebration. I am also reluctant simply because I’m not Wiccan. I keep the sabbats/esbats as I can although that is something I have to work at, simply because I have a hard time knowing what to do….if that makes sense. I’ve not been taught or shown any ritual, and coming up with my own is somewhat difficult for me.
In my circle of friends here I have one other friend that believes as I do, our friends range from Anti-Theists, to Christian, to even a Hindu. I don’t have a definition of my belief system I just know what I feel and believe to be true for myself. I’ve never been to a circle, I’ve never worn robes, and I don’t wear a pentacle. I do however, wear a pendant with the image of Bridget laying gracefully in a moon, as well as a talisman of Mercury pendant because I am Gemini.
And as far as being “out of the broom closet”, I am for the most part. The only people with whom I’ve not discussed my religious change are my in-laws. It would devastate my mother in law and I don’t want to put her through that. Not that she believes that Catholicism is the be-all/end-all but, she is very emphatic about keeping Cajun tradition, and part of that is the church.
I take a very historic view on my faith and belief system. I seek as many facts as I can get, and pray the only way I know how. I’ve never cast a spell (that I know of) . I’ve never invoked anyone (that I know of) and I don’t have an alter set up—mainly because I have nowhere to put one right now. I do try to keep up with my astrology and read my Tarot as often as I feel the need. I pay attention to my intuition as it’s always gotten me through, and I love my aromatherapy. I have a decent knowledge of herbs and oils, and strongly prefer homeopathy and natural medicine to the mainstream. Basically I do what I can with what I’ve got.
Which brings me to my questions. I understand that being Wiccan or Pagan of most sorts involves defending and loving Mother Nature and our environment as much as possible. But does it make me a bad Pagan or even a “fluff bunny” because I don’t recycle? Or because I approve of hunting so long as the game is used as entirely as possible for food, etc.?
I don’t consider myself very conservative or liberal politically, although I do tend toward the conservative for most issues. I’m not particularly fond of politics period and I don’t understand what politics has to do with faith. Now, I do understand that certain peoples fight for certain freedoms and ideas, and I respect that. I just don’t get why one would need to be an activist in order to be properly Pagan. Perhaps these are just personal fears of acceptance that I wouldn’t be taken seriously should I ever join a group for circle or simply a discussion.
In a world of neat little labels, boxes, and definitions, would I be considered a faithful practitioner or just a wanna be?
Blessed Be ;-)
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
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